The holidays are all about spending quality time with loved ones. This could also be a great time to reconnect and check in on an aging parent or loved one who is living alone. The thought of a parent aging can bring on feelings of anxiety for many adult children, but instead of letting these feelings of anxiety and stress overwhelm you this holiday season, create a plan.
When visiting your elderly loved one living alone, assess how they are doing and what tasks seem difficult or dangerous for them. This can help determine whether it might be time to start discussing assisted or independent living facilities. Deciding in advance the signs to look for while visiting that indicate this, will help.
Here is a checklist to help you navigate the holiday season:
Help out around the house
Often times there are things our aging loved ones need to do but can’t, such as cleaning things from high places or lifting something heavy. Ask what chores or work that needs to be done around the house that you can help with. If something seems too difficult for them to do, offer a helping hand. Take mental notes of common house chores that seem dangerous or are becoming difficult for them.
Watch for red flags
These could include things such as bruises, burn marks, expired medication, moldy food or general uncleanliness around the home. It is important to be discreet about this because you don’t want to embarrass them, but these could be important warning signs that could indicate your loved one needs further assistance.
Talk about future plans
This conversation can be uncomfortable for both of you, but the future is inevitable. Talk about options and listen to what they want to do in the future. Asking questions about where they want to live and how they will know when it is time to move will put your mind at ease and help them formulate a future plan that you can support them with.
Enjoy the holidays together
As we said before, the holidays are about spending time with the people you love. Enjoy the time you have with your family and don’t stress over the details of the future. Create memories this holiday season with your loved ones that you can carry with you throughout your lifetime.